"Keep up the good work"! A case study of the effects of a specific cognitive training in Alzheimer's disease

Marco Cavallo, Andrea Eugenio Cavanna, Michal Harciarek, Harriet Johnston, Luca Ostacoli, Chiara Angilletta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative condition characterized by significant impairment in multiple cognitive domains. In recent years, the development of cognitive trainings in AD has received significant attention. In the present case study we designed a cognitive training program (GEO, Geographical Exercises for cognitive Optimization) based on an errorless paradigm and tailored to the patient's cultural interests. The aim of this training was to investigate the potential for acquiring and possibly retaining both procedural and verbal knowledge in early-stage AD. This study involved an 80-year-old female patient diagnosed with early-stage AD, and 10 matched healthy subjects. Participants were asked to perform the two GEO training tasks: a "puzzle-like" task for procedural memory, and an "association" task for verbal memory. Both the patient and the healthy controls were subsequently trained with GEO using the same two tasks for 2 months. Although the patient's performance before training in both tasks was poor compared to healthy controls, after the training these differences disappeared. Our results showed that the patient was able to acquire new procedural abilities and verbal knowledge, and that her achievements were stable at the follow-up testing scheduled 3 months after the end of the intervention. This case study suggests a potentially useful strategy for cognitive training in AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)542-52
Number of pages11
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease/psychology
  • Attention/physiology
  • Cognition/physiology
  • Cognition Disorders/psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Memory/physiology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


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